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Palin vs. Kennedy: Jonah Goldberg Amplified (Update)

John on December 19, 2008 at 9:14 pm

The idea for this post comes from this piece over at NRO by Jonah Goldberg. Comparing the treatment of Palin and Kennedy, Jonah writes:

One could say without fear of overstating things that the liberal reaction to the inexperienced Caroline has been somewhat more gracious than the reaction to the “inexperienced” Palin. Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post has devoted two columns in as many weeks to this “fairy tale” scenario in which Kennedy, our “tragic national princess,” is finally rewarded — for her years of quiet dignity, selflessly avoiding scandal and the paparazzi — with the Senate seat that once belonged to her uncle Bobby.

That reminded me that I’d read some reaction to Palin from Ruth Marcus and I thought setting the two side by side would be interesting. First, here’s Marcus writing about Palin on Aug. 31:

I can’t believe that McCain truly thinks Palin is the best choice to be a heartbeat away — especially in a White House that would be occupied by the oldest man ever to be elected to a first term in the office.

McCain runs the risk that Palin will turn out to be Dan Quayle with an up-do — except with less experience. By the time he was selected as George H.W. Bush’s running mate, Quayle had served in the House and Senate for a dozen years. Palin has been governor for less than two.


Sorry, but count me out. I found Palin’s selection, and her calculated shout-out to unhappy Clinton supporters, insulting. In that sense, Palin’s selection seems less like Quayle and more like Clarence Thomas for the Supeme Court. “She’s exactly who I need,” McCain said — but the notion that Palin, like Thomas, is the best-qualified for the job is ludicrous.

Got it? Ludicrous. Now here’s Marcus writing about Caroline Kennedy on Dec. 9th:

On the question of Caroline Kennedy for Senate, my head says no, on balance. My heart says yes! Yes! Right now, as you might guess from the hedging on the former and the exclamation points on the latter, my heart is winning.


The notion that Caroline Kennedy could simply ring up the governor and announce, or even politely suggest, her availability grates against the meritocratic ideal. After all, even the children of politicians generally take the time to climb the usual rungs rather than parachute into top jobs.

At the same time, and here’s the on-balance part, it would be silly to imagine that every senator or other person in high office has paid his — or her — political dues. A big bundle of cash — see, for example, Jon Corzine, former Goldman Sachs chairman, former senator from New Jersey, now New Jersey governor — is helpful for vaulting your way over the drudgery of doing time on the state Senate subcommittee on pensions.


What really draws me to the notion of Caroline as senator, though, is the modern-fairy-tale quality of it all. Like many women my age — I’m a few months younger than she — Caroline has always been part of my consciousness: The lucky little girl with a pony and an impossibly handsome father. The stoic little girl holding her mother’s hand at her father’s funeral. The sheltered girl, whisked away from a still-grieving country by a mother trying to shield her from prying eyes.

In this fairy tale, Caroline is our tragic national princess.

Again, this is exactly the point Jonah was making, it’s just amplified by seeing the two reactions back to back. This, in a nutshell, is precisely the double standard that conservatives find in news coverage every single day. Conservatives get beaten up by the media while liberals doing nearly the same things usually get a pass. At least Ruth Marcus is somewhat honest about it.

Update: Ace has another example of the double standard courtesy of David Gregory. It turns out corruption isn’t really that big a deal and we should all just put things in perspective (at least when a Dem is involved).

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Category: MSM & Bias |

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